In terms of libertarian principles, it’s been a rough year. After two presidential runs by former Texas Congressman Ron Paul, his son was widely expected to exceed his father’s efforts and come within striking distance of the Republican nomination. Instead, Senator Rand Paul was out after the Iowa caucus and Donald Trump’s fiery, bombastic personality clinched. While it could be considered a positive development for the establishment to lose, Trump is hardly a check in the wins column for the liberty movement.
The presidential election is essentially lost. So what next?
The most important thing for libertarians to realize at this point is with a bad election, there aren’t any wrong answers. Is Hillary Clinton the worst candidate among them all? Conservatives and libertarians would likely agree on that point, but then it divides. Some support Trump, others are looking to Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson and the Green Party also has Jill Stein and Constitution Party has Darrell Castle.
The movement is diving on this topic, but nobody is wrong.
What’s important at this stage in the game is the lower ballot candidates. The presidential race is certainly huge, but it’s not the end of the road. The way the government is set up under the Constitution is to divide power. Congress has the power to block Supreme Court nominees, thus being a check on the President. Congress also has the power of impeachment, holds the purse, and carries more power than it realizes.
Congress is critical and there are a number of candidates across the country who are worth time and support.
If we concede that all of the candidates for President aren’t great for us, why bother wasting our time on it? They all aren’t preferable, nobody’s ever going to agree. Why waste the time? Instead, let’s focus on other candidates. In regards to Congress for example, there is Rebekah Johansen Bydlak in Florida’s First House District and Kelli Ward who is seeking to defeat Senator John McCain in the Arizona primary. Both have been endorsed by Ron Paul.
Forget about the presidential elections, let’s get Bydlak and Ward into office. We need them more than whining about bad presidential candidates.
It doesn’t just stop there however. The legislatures are critical position as well, because bad government policy isn’t just restricted to the federal level. Having libertarians elected to legislatures helps influence state policy, but it also gets individuals prepared for their political futures. The same could be said for county and municipal offices. They all have their positions of influence, but can also help train libertarians to navigate the political process while making a difference.
It’s absolutely critical for the liberty movement to remember all hope is not lost. It’s actually far from it. The movement isn’t lagging, it’s not dead, and it’s certainly not dying. Brexit’s vote shows there is a market for libertarianism in the world and the poll numbers for Gary Johnson reflect a growing openness to new choices. Libertarians need to not lose sight of the big picture and focus on all the offices from Congress down to the local school boards and councils. Help get people like Rebekah Johansen Bydlak and Kelli Ward into Congress, while making a difference in state and locally.
This is how liberty wins.